In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

RestorationStephen Wilson
Close
Close

You must have escaped in a hurry
dropping so many little intimacies
from our lives – thermal vests, long johns,
a lace camisole, a black bow-tie,
a packet of Tampax on the floor beside
the bed, my old tennis-shoes
(were your backs done in too?).

I picture your arrival, through the rockery,
sinking your feet into heather,
shrugging off rhododendron branches,
strands of honeysuckle; prising
open the sash with an iron bar,
your bodies folded like contortionists
among slivers of glass and wood.

Surgeons in a slapstick
operation, you don rubber gloves
still wet with Fairy foam,
and choose the right knife
for the job. You have turned
our house into a fading Caravaggio,

which the men from the Incident Room
lovingly restore. When the silvery powder
is brushed away, we can see
exactly what you fingered;
a textured print of small circles,
like suckers on an octopus tentacle,
softly formicate under our skin.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences